Paradox and the limits of reason

Steven R. Smith

in Equality and diversity

Published by Policy Press

Published in print July 2011 | ISBN: 9781847426079
Published online March 2012 | e-ISBN: 9781447302209 | DOI:
Paradox and the limits of reason

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This chapter argues that establishing reciprocal relations accommodates a philosophically coherent and politically plausible response to the conflicts between the values of equality and diversity when promoting radical causes. This recognises that there is no rational or complete answer to the various paradoxes of human experience and agency, the unpredictable and nuanced ways in which individuals become attached to valued objects, and the subsequent development and shaping of their identities. The main claim of this chapter is that the conflict between the values of equality and diversity reflect four normative paradoxes in social relations that have been explored and outlined throughout the book. These paradoxes expose normative tensions or contradictions in the way individuals and group members place value on particular ‘objects’, based on empirical assumptions about the identity of these individuals and group members, and the specific manner in which persons relate to each other in any given community. The chapter also argues that these tensions are specifically apparent in those societies that allow the equal right to choose diverse objects of value, making them apparent in liberal communities. This chapter begins by outlining four paradoxes. It then outlines how the divide between the analytical and non-analytical philosophy before turning to how these paradoxes can be solved or unravelled.

Keywords: reciprocal relations; values of equality; values of diversity; paradoxes; normative paradoxes; social relations; normative tensions; analytical philosophy; non-analytical philosophy

Chapter.  10147 words. 

Subjects: Social Stratification, Inequality, and Mobility

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